What are the Health Benefits from Chia Seeds?

Chia Seeds. They have become extremely popular in recent years. Do you remember chia pets? You may recall their popular jingle… cha cha chia! You can still find chia pets. Lowes sells one with BABY YODA. Did you know that you can actually eat chia seeds? They are also good for you, so what are the health benefits from CHIA SEEDS?

 

How do Chia Seeds Benefit You?

 

 

THEY’RE A NUTRITIONAL POWERHOUSE! Chia seeds are crammed full of nutrients… even though they are tiny little things. One ounce provides you with about half of your daily fiber requirement (ounce equals 11 grams of fiber). Fiber is important for your digestive system. It helps clean out your intestines and PROMOTES healthy gut microbiota.

These itty bitty seeds are also a good source of iron. You boost up your red cell count and its performance with iron. Iron helps make hemoglobin. This is a protein in red blood cells that help move blood from your lungs to all parts of your body.

Chia seeds are also a good source of plant protein. An ounce of seeds will provide you with 5 grams of healthy protein. Chia seeds have 9 grams of fat per ounce, so if you’re safeguarding your fat intake, keep that in mind. You will also receive a nice dose of magnesium and calcium from an ounce of chia seeds. Chia seeds are also loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

All of these essential elements create an abundance of energy in your body. These wonder seeds are just loaded with all kinds of goodies.

WHAT’S BETTER THAN HEART! More people check out from our planet from heart disease more than any other human ailment… and the odds can go way down if only you show your heart more love. The best choice you could make is to stop ramming heart-damaging food down your throat. Or at least limit them to special cheat days.

Now, chia seeds can help protect your heart, it’s a superfood, but not a miracle food. Food rich in fiber helps lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 67 controlled trial studies demonstrated that a humble 10-gram increase of fiber intake could reduce your bad cholesterol level. Yes… chia seeds have that covered. Fiber also helps lower inflammation in your cardiovascular system.

Chia seeds are brimming with plant-based OMEGA- 3 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids that provide many benefits for your body. Certain fish species are high in omega-3s, but the problem is the oceans are so full of toxins. Plant-based options are so much better for your overall health.

Omega-3s deter the build-up of plaque in your arteries. They also help reduce triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) and assist in lowering blood pressure…and finally, they can reduce your risk of developing an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats).

STEP INTO THE HEALTHY FLOW! Life is good when your digestion is JUST right…when things run regular… and smooth… Soak your chia seeds in some filtered water and let them expand into a gel. This is what happens when any soluble fiber comes in contact with water. Add this gel to fruit or salads.

Soluble fiber bulks up your stool and transcends healthy gut bacteria into a feeding frenzy. Fiber improves your overall digestive environment. Now, as you may know, fiber can’t be digested… like corn! As it makes its tour through your digestive system… it cleans things up. Things like nasty bacteria and toxins. A healthy digestive system is so important for your overall health.

Chia seeds may prevent constipation. One of the main ways people become constipated is when their stools become dry and hard. At this point, it is quite a chore to move these puppies through your system. They get stuck in limbo. So, most people reach for BIG PHARMA to save the day. Prevention is always king in my world.

Since we are discussing digestive tracts… Diverticulitis is an unwelcome flare-up in your colon. A friend of mine developed a serious case 10 years ago and they had to disconnect part of his digestive tract for a WHOLE YEAR! Ouch!!!

Diets in fiber are extremely important to keep this heinous condition away. So again… healthy digestion is so important. Keeping your digestive tract clean is vital. This is why doctors always want to check colons for cancer when you reach a certain age. Keeping yourself cleaned out is critical for long-term health.

BETTER INGREDIENTS, BETTER WEIGHT LOSS! Fiber makes you feel full for longer periods of time… And, I just discussed how soluble fiber helps move things along in your digestive tract. Fruits, vegetables, and seeds are the champions in the world of fiber. These food groups are usually lower in calories and not the problem when it comes to weight gain. This includes POTATOES! I thrive on potatoes and my weight keeps going down.

When you make a chia seed gel (add water), this will help you feel full for longer. Again, chia seeds are high in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and alpha-linolenic acid. Combined, these elements are handy in losing weight

So, are chia seeds a magic weight loss pill? Not likely. You have to go all out and change everything about the way you eat if you really want results. However, studies have shown chia seeds as being pretty effective in appetite suppression. They are also able to signal your brain that you’re full.

 

GET THE DIABETES OUT! Are chia seeds the holy grail for reversing diabetes? I hardly think so. Reversing diabetes is possible by following a certain strategy. Chia seeds can play a role in getting better results in your sugars.

Not a lot of research has been performed on the effects of chia seeds on blood glucose, but a 2017 study proposes that chia may convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate. Chia seeds may help stabilize blood sugar levels and enhance insulin sensitivity. It also helps halt blood sugar spikes after meals when added to your food.

PRAISE SLEEP! I suffered for years from poor sleep. At one point I tried one of those sleep machine apparatuses. Man, that really sucked! I just couldn’t use that thingie. I actually use a sleep strap now and I am able to wake up more refreshed.

Within the last 19 months, I converted to a whole-food plant-based diet and consume blue-green algae every morning. I am providing my body with essential nutrients, and my sleep has improved dramatically.

I have also used magnesium glycinate to help me fall asleep faster. I don’t need it anymore because I am getting my magnesium from other food sources. Chia seeds are a good source of magnesium, but you need to consume over 100 grams (3.5 oz) to get your recommended daily.

Dehydration is another reason you may wake up feeling dog tired. Especially if you tied one on at the bar last night…well at least before COVID. You may also awaken to a nasty smelling morning breath. What this means is you are not producing enough saliva.

Saliva is your body’s natural disinfectant. Its job is to wipe out mouth bacteria. Chia seeds are an excellent way to keep your body hydrated. But, you need to add liquid to the seeds before consuming them because they will soak up the liquid already in your body and could possibly cause a blockage (like in your throat). Yes, you could choke on chia seeds! As well as other fibers. Adding water to soluble fiber does cause it to expand. This is why throwing rice at weddings is not advisable anymore. Birds eat it. The rice expands when liquid encounters it in their stomach… not good for the bird!

And the best case for better sleep...CHIA SEEDS ARE LOADED WITH TRYPTOPHAN! You know! That stuff in TURKEY that makes you pass out on your Lazy Boy every Thanksgiving.

Tryptophan is one of your body’s essential amino acids. This amino acid is fantastic for combating depression and anxiety. You see… tryptophan converts to SEROTONIN. Low serotonin levels equal to many unhappy days. There is much food straight out of nature that can provide a much-needed mood boost… especially in these times.

RUN FORREST, RUN. What a great movie. It is easily my favorite movie. There is a part in the movie where Forrest runs from coast-to-coast numerous times. It’s one of the sillier parts of the movie. Doesn’t seem possible… at all!

There exists in Mexico a tribe of RUNNING PEOPLE! The TARAHUMARA. This is a tribe of super athletes who run for 50 to 100 miles at a time. ALL FOR FUN AND FOR FREE! It seems that they are able to do this without much effort

What do they eat, you may ask? The staple of their diet is PINOLE and CHIA SEEDS. To make pinole, you would start off with a base of masa harina. (cornmeal treated with lime) Then they would add some agave nectar or honey to sweeten it, put in some cinnamon, and finally throw in some chia seeds. They would heat it all up into a cake and munch on it as they traverse the Mexican terrain. THIS IS MIND-BOGGLING!

GOOD TO THE LAST CELLS! Do you know what is really great about omega-3 fatty acids? It helps increase cell membrane permeability. What in the world is that? This means it helps increase the flexibility of your cell walls. This is good news because it helps prevent cell damage. Sick cells lead to early aging and possibly cancer.

Who doesn’t want to be more quick-witted! Omega-3s can help increase signals between your brain neurons. Cells are always communicating with each other. There is this whole other fantastic world going on inside the human body. Your ego not needed to be involved.

So, you see… omega-3s are some sort of brain food... this is how fish have gotten known for this. You don’t have to fish in tainted seas to receive your daily omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a very good source. You can add chia seeds to water and create a gel… add this to a bowl of fruit in the morning to get your omega-3s.

I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH YOU. Many of us are familiar with the association between calcium and strong bones. Chia seeds are a great source of calcium and other minerals for solid bone health. (like phosphorus).

Phosphorus is the 2nd most abundant mineral in your body. The main function of phosphorus in the human body is bones and teeth. However, add some B vitamins into the mix and phosphorus helps with kidney function, nerve signals, muscle contractions, and a normal heartbeat. You will also find B vitamins in chia seeds.

Chia seeds also help relieve inflammation in your joints and reduce joint pain. Adding these minerals to your diet will also help increase your connective tissues and help build more muscle strength.

What In The Blazes Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are little bitty things. They have a white to gray base and are speckled brown and black. They are hydrophilic. This means they can absorb twelve times their weight. And, they are chocked full of nutrients as described above.

Chia seeds are native to the New World. A staple food for Ancient Aztecs. Evidence shows that chia seeds were cultivated in pre-Columbian times, and was a highly regarded crop like maize (corn). Only corn and beans were seen as more important than chia seeds to these people. Chia seeds today are grown all over Latin America as well as Australia.

Pre-Columbian drawing

 

 

Bring Out The Sprouts

Yea, about that chia pet. Those little sprouts are power charged with nutrition. They grow really easy. Recently I had these nasty little insects called pantry moths. I opened up my jar of chia seeds and noticed cobwebs. Pantry moths had gotten into everything, and before you know it, you will see larva swimming around in whatever they invade. I think I didn’t secure the lid of the jar and they got in. (by the way… pantry moths will eat through plastic)

So… I tossed them outside in some planters. We were already in October when I did so. The sprouts were coming up everywhere. Just like that.

Consuming chia seeds supplies your body with many loving nutrients. But sprouts are even better for you. The sprouting process breaks down some starch which increases the percentages of the nutrients. This also makes chia more bioabsorbable. Your body can access more of the food’s nutrition

From Healthy Eaton dot com

 

 

It’s All Just Black and White

Chia seeds are essentially the same. However, there are subtle differences. There isn’t a white chia seed plant nor a black chia seed one. They all come from the same plant. Basically, they can appear white to gray and are speckled. They give the appearance of a black seed when entirely mottled.

The plants produce more “black” seeds: however, cultivators have separated the seeds and have produced plants with a higher percentage of white seeds or a higher percent of black.

White seeds are higher in omega-3 fatty acid content. Black seeds normally have more protein and can lead to higher crop yields (which farmers love). But, the differences are marginal at best and many believe there really is no difference.

Now For Dinner!

How do you go about eating these healthy little wonders? For starters, if you are a smoothie lover, then you just toss them into the mix. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor and will not overpower the flavor of whatever you are eating or drinking.

Sprinkle them onto your salad or add them to a homemade dressing. I have added them to a homemade slaw. You can bake them in bread or muffins. You can make homemade energy bars like the super running natives of Mexico. A lot of marathon runners are paying attention to these super runners.

I have at this moment a chia pudding sitting in my fridge. I made homemade oat milk. (oats and filtered water in a ninja… takes less than a minute) Use about a cup and a half of milk. Add a quarter cup of organic cocoa, a tiny bit of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and 3 to 5 tablespoons of agave or maple syrup. Mix it up. Stir in a half cup of chia seeds and stir them in. Put in the fridge for 5 hours and walla… delicious healthy pudding.

For those on a plant-based diet… chia seeds make an excellent egg replacement for baking recipes. Mix a tablespoon of chia to 3 tablespoons of water. Let it soak for 15 minutes. End result… a healthy egg replacement.

Don’t forget about the sprouts. Invest in an affordable sprouter and grow some chia sprouts. Add them to salads or sandwiches. You can fit these little cuties into your life with a little awareness and creativity. Happy eating.

P.S. You can store them for 4 to 5 years. But, watch out for pantry moths… ugggghh!

Danger Will Robinson!!!

Finally,… ARE CHIA SEEDS SAFE? Are there any precautions you should take? Do not try to swallow a spoon full of chia seeds straight and chase it with a glass of water. A man in North Carolina did just that. The seeds formed into a thick gel-like substance in his esophagus and found he could no longer swallow. He required medical treatment to fix the issue.

This is rare, but it shows how important it is to add liquid or mix the chia seeds into food before consuming it. People with swallowing problems should proceed with caution and try to avoid giving toddlers chia seeds to munch on.

Although rare, some people are allergic to chia seeds. This can happen with any food group, but some like peanuts are more common.

Final Thoughts

If you prepare your own food at home, it’s real easy to slip in some chia seeds here and there. I add some to my fruit bowl in the morning or in my salads. My next project is to invest in a better sprouter and start adding these healthy sprouts to my meal plan.

There are so many healthy elements inside chia seeds, it needs to remain a staple in my diet… just like the super runners and the ancient Aztecs. Happy Eating.

Many Blessings, Brian.

SOURCES

Fiber Study

Appetite suppression and effects on blood glucose

General Chia Seed Research

 

 

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2 thoughts on “What are the Health Benefits from Chia Seeds?”

  1. Hi Brian,

    I enjoyed this article thoroughly. You highlighted the amazing benefits of the Chia seeds without making it too dull. I have started (seriously) implementing Chia seeds in my diet just a couple of months ago, I knew they were superfoods but wow this really underlined every benefit.

    I’ll definitely share this article with my family. They will love it, for sure.

    Cheers.
    SAM

    Reply

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